Lexington Legends

Lexington gets best of new in-state rival

A rivalry was born Saturday night.

Just don't get too used to it.

The Bowling Green Hot Rods visited Applebee's Park, the first time that the Lexington Legends have had an in-state opponent in their nine-season history.

And the Legends had their way early and often en route to an 8-1 victory.

"A good way to start it," Legends Manager Tom Lawless said of the new rivalry.

Albert Cartwright and Kyle Miller each poked two-run homers to lead a 10-hit attack. Legends starter Kyle Greenwalt (2-1) held the Hot Rods to one run, three hits and two walks, striking out three over six innings.

The Hot Rods are the former Columbus (Ga.) Catfish. But their stay in the South Atlantic League will only last one season. Next year, Bowling Green and the Lake County (Ohio) Captains are scheduled to move from the SAL to the Midwest League.

For now, though, the Legends have an in-state rival on the field and at the turnstile.

Through seven home dates, the Legends ranked sixth in the SAL with an average attendance of 4,221. Also through seven dates, the Hot Rods were seventh with an average of 4,097.

Saturday marked the first of 18 games scheduled between the teams this season.

Bowling Green's parent club, the Tampa Bay Rays, stocked the Hot Rods with a star for the debut season. Shortstop Tim Beckham, the No. 1 overall pick in last year's draft, signed for $6.15 million.

Beckham went 1-for-3 Saturday with a single and walk but also committed one of Bowling Green's six errors.

"They struggled a little bit defensively early in the game, which helped us out," Lawless said. "But it's nice to see us swing the bats. We were much more aggressive at the plate. You put up 10 hits a night, you've got a chance to win."

The tone was set when Legends leadoff batter Jay Austin drew a "three-base walk." He continued to second on the ball-four wild pitch, then to third when catcher Jake Jeffries threw the ball into center field. Cartwright followed with an RBI groundout.

Russell Dixon reached on Beckham's two-base throwing error and took third on a wild pitch. Dixon scored when Beckham's brother, third baseman Jeremy, played a Federico Hernandez grounder into a two-base error.

And a new error — er, era — was underway.

■ Lynn Gritton substituted as field umpire Saturday, filling in for Koye Inoue, who suffered a concussion Thursday while working behind the plate at Greensboro.